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Palmdale mayor, consultants charged in public corruption case

Jim Ledford (Credit: Jim Ledford for Mayor/Facebook)

Longtime Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford is being charged in a public corruption case for receiving over $60,000 per year for eight years from consultants and not disclosing his income, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The mayor, who has served in his role since 1992, is charged with three counts of perjury, as well as a count of conspiracy and a count of conflict of interest. In total, Ledford would have collected nearly $500,000.

Regarding the case, the city of Palmdale said they have been cooperative.

“The City of Palmdale has cooperated fully and will continue to cooperate fully with the District Attorney’s office in this matter,” John Mlynar, Palmdale Communications Manager said in response to a query from The Signal.

Ledford’s case was filed for warrant Wednesday and he was expected to be arraigned the same day. He faces a maximum of four years and eight months in state prison if convicted.

The case is being investigated by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation.

Additionally, consultants Kimberly Anne Shaw of Yorba Linda and Susan Burgess Miller of Las Vegas will also face conspiracy charges, a count of embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds.

Both Shaw and Miller could be ordered up to four years in prison if they are convicted.

Shaw, a Palmdale consultant of 20 years, and Miller paid Ledford $5,200 a month between Aug. 1, 2009 and May 3, 2017 using shell companies.

Shaw’s contract with the city was not to exceed $3.9 million over the course of seven years, the Palmdale city council voted in 2012.

With assistance from Miller, Shaw operated the AERO Institute, which got more than $2 million per year from NASA. Since 2004, the institute paid the city of Palmdale an annual lease of $1.

Ledford did not do any “substantive work” for AERO over the course of those years, according to prosecutors. The mayor did not report his income from the institute from 2015 to 2017.

Miller hired the mayor in 2009 to her company, Complex Culture Change Consulting. For four years, AERO Institute paid the consultant company over $13,000.

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